Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2011

Schumacher and Hamilton miss final laps after “stupid” incident

2011 Japanese Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2011
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2011

Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton failed to start their final qualifying laps after an incident at the chicane involving them and Mark Webber at the end of Q3..

Webber passed Hamilton on the inside at the chicane and the Red Bull driver was able to start his final lap in time.

While Hamilton avoided Webber, Schumacher was on the outside of the pair of them and drove onto the run-off to avoid them.

Schumacher called the incident “stupid” and said it had begun when Hamilton slowed down in front of him and Webber:

“It was a bit stupid in the last chicane, everybody was driving so slow and I saw my lap and I knew I had to go through somehow otherwise I wouldn’t make it and I just missed it by a second.”

He added: “I had Webber in front who slowed down because Hamilton slowed down. I don’t know what was in front of him, if he really had to slow down that much. But it was tight for all three of us so we all had to push somehow to make it through and to do another lap.

“At that moment I was set to do a lap because I didn’t know whether Kobayashi may go out or somebody goes out. So I tried my best and then Lewis pushed me a little bit wide onto the grass.”

Schumacher said: “it’s a shame but it didn’t make a problem in the end,” because he was still able to end the session in seventh place.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said Hamilton had been told not to let the following cars overtake him:

“With Lewis it was tight. We told him not to back up and let any cars by. Unfortunately he got passed at the last corner and in so doing missed the opportunity at a second lap.

“So, frustrating, of course, but the reality is we’ve got a car that’s quick here, we’re second and third, and it’s a long race.”

“He’d been told not to back up, he’d been told to push. But he got overtaken by Mark in the last corner – no accusation to Mark, he did a good job to get by. Obviously Michael missed it as well.

“It was tight for all of them. Lewis had been told ‘don’t let cars by’ and by letting the cars by he missed that chance to get through.”

Hamilton was behind Button at the time and McLaren’s pit messages show Button had been told to “make a gap to Massa”, who was ahead of him.

Hamilton was on provisional pole position at the time but slipped to third place afterwards. He said he could have improved his time had he been able to do a final lap:

“The car was feeling great and I felt like I had a couple of tenths at least left. I had time, there was a couple of corners where I lost a bit of time on my first run. So I felt like I was in a position to at least fight with these two guys.

“It was a bit dangerous at the last corner where I had Mark attack me and I had Michael go down the outside. It was very strange and that’s really why we lost the lap.”

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174 comments on “Schumacher and Hamilton miss final laps after “stupid” incident”

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  1. can anyone post up a video link of the incident? cant seem to find it online and they didnt show a replay on the f1 coverage. thanks

    1. Any luck?

  2. Pretty amusing that Lewis finds what Webber and Schumacher did in Japan “dangerous” when he tried to do exactly the same thing to Massa during qualifying in Singapore two weeks ago.

    1. I think it was the fact of having two cars come through, not leaving him space to move either side, that Lewis thought was dangerous. In Singapore Lewis was close behind Massa for ages and Massa could easily have moved aside at many points without costing either of them time when it came to the flying lap. Not that he had to of course, I seem to remember Jenson doing the same thing once. Just part of the game.

      BTW I do think this was a mistake by both Lewis and McLaren

      1. In my opinion what Lewis did in Singapore was dangerous, since they were not under any type of time crunch,so his actions there was completely unnecessary. In Japan all three had to get on with it, so I can certainly understand why Webber and Schuey wanted to get past, Lewis was slowing too much to make the last lap. Lewis has only himself to blame for putting all three drivers in that position. He went out with Jensen and Button seemed to make it to the line OK with the time that was given him. Others certainly see it differently, but personally I am tired of all of the excuses from him. He is supposed to be a world champion. It is time he started acting and driving like one.

  3. When Hamilton went faster than Button in Q2, Withmarsh didn’t look too happy. I guess he now has the result he desires.
    Since he bacame team principal Hamilton’s performance has been slowly getting poorer and poorer. Too many lapses and blame of the driver. Hamilton doesn’t seem to know that he is slowly being marginalised in that team.
    The goal is to make Button team leader next year.

    1. I’ve got news for you mate … the way Hamilton has been driving this year, Button already is the team leader. This has nothing to do with Whitmarsh, it is down to Hamilton’s poor driving and poor decision making. It is time to stop making excuses for someone who is supposed to be a World Champion.

    2. What planet have you been on all season? Every incident Hamilton has been involved in Whitmarsh has vigorously defended his driver. This was the first instance all season that Whitmarsh didn’t completely defend Hamilton about this latest mistake.

    3. It did look a bit strange that, but I think it’s likely to have looked that way because of the context of what we were seeing and hearing on the TV coverage. We don’t know what he was really reacting to.

    4. The goal is to make Button team leader next year.

      What you’re saying is that McLaren is favouring Jenson even though Lewis won his WDC with them. Perhaps McLaren have had enough of Lewis’ many mistakes this year and Jenson has been driving solidly.

      You’re sounding more like another threatened Lewis “Hollywood” Hamilton Fan Boy.

  4. i think this is a team error on all parts, there are 10 minutes in the pole shoot-out which is plenty of time to do 2 runs. i cannot see the huge benefit of leaving your runs so late that you risk not making your final run, even with track evolution and possible improving conditions, surely its better to make sure you get your runs in. there is often a lull in Q3 and i can’t understnd why the teams dont use their time more productively.

  5. Anyone has a videos of this?

  6. Looking at the replay I can’t really see why Lewis was slowing down quite so much, he must’ve known he was nearly out of time, and he had more than a seconds gap to Jenson in front. It’s 50/50 for me to apportion blame. The team told him to push on the out lap and not let cars pass but now I’m seeing that they told JB to make a gap to Massa. At the end of the day, they should all have made the decision to go out earlier, there’s no sense in cutting it so fine.

  7. The shoe is on the other foot this time for Lewis, didn’t we see him doing an even more extreme version of this in singapore- when there were no such time pressures ? He gets involved in these incidents but they are ALWAYS the other guys fault. Whitmarsh said he was being hustled in that last corner. My phone’s predictive text had it right when it calls him Martin whitewash! I think the teams all have to realise the risks of leaving it so late when your rivals do likewise. I am fed up though of hamilton and mclaren blaming everyone else and the BBC always jumping to his defence (though I was amazed Ej didn’t today though I think that was more to be contrary to dc!)

  8. Im not sure why so many people are so quick to blame McLaren/Hamilton. Isn’t it Redbull/Webber, Merc/Schu’s fault for leaving it too late?
    Possibly Hamilton could have been slightly closer to Button but it’s pretty marginal considering Webber didn’t improve his time when he would have been in a similar track position to what Hamilton would have been in. Even then the two cars behind wouldn’t have improved their times either, one wouldn’t have crossed the line in time and the other would have been in Hamilton’s dirty air.

  9. Mclaren really aren’t doing any favours with regards to Lewis’ mental state at the moment. For every silly error Lewis has made this year you can match it with a silly mistake the team has made – which I’d say adds to Hamilton’s need to try and overcompensate.

    For a top team of experienced guys, it’s bizarre. They have all these flashy rooms with computers and boffins working out which scenario is the most likely and which works best for them blah blah blah, but perhaps they should have a couple of ‘Common Sense Blokes’ (or Basic Logical Tacticians as McLaren might call them) who sit down the pub with a selection of fine British ales who tell the guys at the track to put down the computers and engage brain a bit more.

    1. …but perhaps they should have a couple of ‘Common Sense Blokes’ (or Basic Logical Tacticians as McLaren might call them) who sit down the pub with a selection of fine British ales who tell the guys at the track to put down the computers and engage brain a bit more.

      haha .. good point. They should employ at least one ordinary couch-potato bloke who does nothing else but watches the race on TV and listens to the commentators, with a beer in one hand and food in the other.. and phone nearby when needed,… im certain they would be better off

    2. I thought that’s what Sam Michaels is supposed to start doing next year for them? Sure hope so, bc. things like this are where they need that.

  10. The split between Webber and Button at the start of the lap would make the answer plain. That would have been Hamilton’s approx time and split on Button. If it was +3 sec, then Hamilton, when combined with what Whitmarsh said (“He’d been told not to back up, he’d been told to push.”) would say to anyone but the Hammy diehards that are going down with the ship that he was backing them up for his own purposes and got caught napping. The proof is there to be found.

    1. My unofficial timing was about 4.11 sec difference. Used a digital stopwatch while watching the recording of the live quali. Even if Lewis was a second faster than his Q2 time he would’ve been a second faster than Webber’s final quali time. Which means he would’ve had a gap of about 3 secs had he’d got his run in. And as you said… he was caught napping

  11. What no one has mentioned is that the last car over the line to start a quali lap has the advantage of seeing the sector times they need to beat on their steering wheel display. If Lewis had gone much earlier he would lose that advantage over Button and Vettel and they were the two he was racing. From their own point of view McLaren timed it quite well but didn’t expect to have to race MSC and WEB in that last chicane. If the last two cars didn’t get in their way the quali would’ve gone great for McLaren and only Red Bull and Mercedes would be blamed for releasing their cars too late.
    You could actually argue that the whole incident was triggered by Massa slowing down up the road (and this time managing to destroy Lewis’s session) but if someone says it out loud the little Brazilian will go nuts again.

  12. Schumacher is actually qualified 8th behind Kobyashi, as Kobyashi started a flying lap and Schumacher didn’t. Under the regulations that puts the Sauber driver ahead of the Mercedes driver on the grid.

  13. Maartin Whitmarsh is incompitent

  14. Looking at the recording of Webber’s final lap, the on board camera shows Jenson in the distance – almost reaching the end of the straight as Webber crossed the line. Webber was 7/10ths slower than Jenson on that lap. I also timed the difference between Jenson crossing the line and Webber crossing the line – just over 4 sec gap (4.11). This evidence eludes me to think that Lewis was napping as he approached the final chichane – he underestimated how much time he had to cross the start line. There’s no one else here to blame but himself for not getting his lap in.

  15. Hamilton is one of the most talented and entertaining drivers weve all seen ever.
    If he wasnt in F1 it would be very dull and I probably wouldnt watch it as much as i do.
    Bernie should b thanking him for bringing so many new spectators and viewers I really think its drivers like him that`s bought the sport up to date.

    1. Exactly in what way does this add to the discussion?

    2. by your logic, lets bring in destruction derby drivers that will crash at every race – hey, they bring entertainment

  16. poor lewis. He is never at the right place at the right time.
    He needs a victory to stop this vicious circle. Tomorrow i think will be the day.

  17. Anyone have link of the video of Q3 with HAM-SHU?

  18. Besides, anyone got link of the pole lap? Youtube is unusually devoid of Japan GP videos, even 10h after the quali

  19. I just read the Lewis Q&A on Formula1.com, aand… Lewis seems to be a little bit… distracted. Upon questioned why they are suddenly on par with the Bulls on one lap, he did not just completely forgot to mention the new Singapore rear wing, which is more efficient, but directly said that the car is the as it were in, say, Spa, no major changes.

    Hiding their strengths, I can accept that, but… Come on, Martin, Paddy, Jenson all talked about the new rear wing, everybody knows about it, why is he not in sync with his team.

    Maybe I just read too much into it, but I think Lewis is mentally exhausted, like totally, come the end of the season. I hope he makes it through tomorrow; won’t take unnecessary risks.

  20. Or perhaps both cars are running different wings.

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